Thursday, 1 July 2010

Foursquare privacy leak

While receiving a $20 million boost in venture capital Foursquare also have a leak. Wired in two articles report here and here that Jesper Andersen, a white-hat hacker, found Foursquare was leaking user data on a massive scale in plain violation of its privacy policy,

The company asked the white hat, Jesper Andersen, to give it nine days to deal with the problem that it was publishing all users’ location data to the entire web despite its privacy-policy promise to users that “You can opt out of such broadcasts through your privacy settings.”

So when the nine days were up, the company told Andersen in a private e-mail Tuesday morning that it had fixed the “privacy leak” (the company’s own words) by modifying how an existing privacy setting worked, and that it had no solution yet for two other privacy holes that Andersen also reported, saying it was trying to figure out how to balance usability with privacy. As for its blog, the only thing the company disclosed Tuesday was that it had closed a monster round of financing: $20 million in venture capital from some of the hottest investors in the country. Nor did the company contact users to tell them that it had found and sort-of fixed a hole in its service that violated the promises it had made to users.

1 comment:

Viohs said...

An interesting view on locative advertising and privacy issues

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/blogs/editors_corner/comment-why-ill-never-use-facebook-places-p69330.html

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I am director of the Media and Persuasive Communication (MPC) network at Bangor University where I also lecture on political-economy of the media. I am currently working on a book provisionally titled Deconstructing Privacy for Peter Lang and leading two empirical projects in connection with privacy perception and the use of new media for smoking cessation. I am author of Creativity and Advertising: Affect, Events and Process (Routledge, 2013); The Mood of Information: A Critique of Behavioural Advertising (Continuum, 2011); and Digital Advertising (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009). Please contact me at mcstay@bangor.ac.uk if you are interested in Ph.D supervision or consultancy services.